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September 28, 2020 3 min read

"My dog pulls but I love letting him have his freedom on our walks"

"I have never hurt myself with a retractable leash, well, except for that one time . . ."

"We use retractable leashes because we love to let our dogs run in front of us to get more exercise"

"My dog doesn't pull so we like using the retractable leash so he can explore "

"Other leashes aren't long enough to let my dog potty were he wants"


We have heard all of the excuses in the book in regards to why so many people prefer using a retractable leash. We understand they may seem convenient when it comes to walking your dog and letting them have more "freedom" during the walk, however, there are major risks involved that you may or may not be thinking about. Below are 5 reasons why you should make the switch to a better and safer tool, such as the Simple Slip Lead.

  1. Retractable leashes not only teach but encourage your dog to pull. Unless locked or slack, retractable leashes exert back pressure on the collar at all times. The back pressure is associated with the freedom to explore. This can be received as a reward, resulting in increased pulling.
  2. Going on a walk with your dog is like a team sport. It’s a relationship-building exercise that should be led by you. If your dog is walking ahead of you, especially 10 feet ahead of you, you are not on the same walk. If you are not on the same walk, you are not in control.
  3. It is next to impossible to effectively communicate with your dog unless it’s been trained to recall. Retractable leashes are difficult to reel in quickly, leaving little time to intervene if your dog is in trouble or starting trouble. If they react to another dog or try to greet another dog who is reactive, you have little to no control over the situation.
  4. The cord can cut, burn, or even amputate. You might not think it will happen to you but it can. One quick google search will show you just how dangerous retractable leashes can be. If the human gets tangled in the cord or grabs it while it's retracting or reeling out, serious injuries can occur such as rope burns, severed fingers, and even severed dog tongues!
  5. The jerking stop of the leash can cause your dog serious injuries, especially with long term use. Once the leash has run out of cord and you hit the stop button on the handle while your dog is quickly moving forward, it can result in a sudden jerk causing neck wounds, lacerations to the trachea, and injuries to the spine. Imagine getting into a minor car wreck on a daily basis - not good.
So please, do us all a favor and throw that retractable leash out, NOW. Replace it with a proper tool such as the Simple Slip Lead and you will notice a world of difference on your walks. If you have been walking with a retractable for quite some time, you may notice your dog is pulling a lot or even resisting the new leash. This is to be expected as your dog has been leading YOU this entire time. It's time to start from the basics, and take control of your relationship with your dog. Check out our tips and tricks for more information on walking your dog with a slip leash and consult with a trainer for more in-depth training needs.